Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin call for full implementation of Disability Discrimination Act

14 March, 2007

Newly elected Mid Ulster MLA Michelle O'Neill has welcomed the damages awarded against a care company after it refused to lift 21 year old County Down disabled student Laura Lee Jenkins out of her wheelchair to attend university.

Ms O'Neill said:

"This case highlights the less than full implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act and should act as a spur to ensure that all service providers live up to their responsibility to make all 'reasonable adjustments' to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

"Every person living with a disability has the right to have their whole person recognised, their capabilities valued and developed to full potential, and their dignity respected. Yet, people with disabilities are still systematically excluded from society.

"The result is that people with a disability are at a greater risk of poverty and unemployment. People with disabilities require both access to the appropriate services specific to their disability and also affirmative action to ensure equal access to education, employment, mainstream services and community life, including decision making processes, as of right." ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Fein identified a number of priorities in its Assembly election manifesto including;

  • Stringent compliance with all aspects of the Disability Discrimination Act and Section 75 equality duty.
  • Introduction of comprehensive rights-based policies to improve access for all people with disabilities to disability specific services including advocacy, education, employment, transport and other mainstream services.
  • Ensure that disability access is available in all public buildings and that universal standards are met in the construction of new buildings
  • Ensure that people with disabilities themselves are directly consulted on policy decisions affecting their lives.

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